Water levels in The Three Gorges reservoir began rising on Sunday 1 June as Chinese authorities gave the green light for the sluice gates to be closed at the Yangtze river project.

The reservoir level is expected to reach 135m by 15 June, with initial power generation planned in August, as the first 700MW turbine is put into operation. Three more generators, each with a 700MW capacity, will come on stream during 2003. The four turbines are expected to generate about 5.5B kWh of electricity.

By 2009, when the project is completed, water levels are expected to reach 175m